When working on guttering, safety is the first concern. Gutter work should ideally be carried out from fixed scaffolding.
Guttering can be made from different materials, but you will find it most commonly made from UPVC. This type of guttering is lightweight, straightforward to fit and requires little maintenance. This leaflet shows how to fit this type of guttering, although the same principles can be applied to other types.
Guttering is supplied in standard lengths, normally 2 or 4m. It is easily cut with a hand saw. On a long run, where lengths require joining, use joint brackets. These wide support clips with rubber gaskets create a watertight joint.
Gutter profiles are commonly half-round in section, but other profiles are available, which are squarer or more ornate.
When fitting guttering base decisions on which way a run will flow according to the position of gullies and drains because this is where the downpipes must be directed. Some downpipes will terminate above ground and others underground, so take this into account when deciding whether you need a downpipe shoe at the bottom, or just to let the pipe run directly into the drain.
Leaking, blocked or badly placed gutters can cause problems with damp. This is easily avoided if gutters are kept clear of debris, and loose joints are fixed as soon as you see them. Rainwater is conventionally directed into underground drainage systems but can be collected in water butts positioned below gutter downpipes and recycled for watering the garden.
Blocked downpipes often result from a build up of leaves and debris finding its way into the drainage system. Consider fitting leaf guards to prevent this from happening. A well-maintained guttering system will increase the efficient flow of water from roof to drain.
Guttering systems that recycle rainwater for household use are available. This is eco-friendly and will save money on your water bill.
A gutter run must slope slightly so that water will run efficiently to the downpipes. The gradient needed to maintain this flow is 1:350 or 1cm in every 3.5m.
To repair a leak at a gutter joint, it is best to replace the joint than to use a sealant to patch it up
Fit or repair guttering
With the first two support brackets in place, you are now able to fix further brackets at 1m intervals between them. On a long run, where gutter lengths will require joining, you will need to fit joint brackets along with the standard support brackets. In this way a watertight joint can be made where needed, while at the same time ensuring that the longer gutter lengths are adequately supported from one end to the other.
With the brackets in position, you can now move on to fitting the guttering. Measure the full length of the proposed gutter run and mark off on a section of guttering. Fit the running outlet next to the lowest bracket. Take note of the guideline (marked as ‘insert here’) inside the running outlet as these show where the gutter end should finish. At the other end, in this case at the edge of the roof itself, allow enough length so that the tile overhang is accommodated.
With the gutter run complete, be sure to test the flow of the water by pouring a bucket of water in at the high end. The water should drain easily down to the running outlet and into the downpipe. If a joint bracket has been included in the run, check whether this leaks or not. If it does, unclip it, make sure that the rubber gaskets are positioned correctly and reassemble. Consider fitting a leaf guard over the outlet to help prevent blockages.